Background

The U.S. Postal Service has more than 30,000 leased and owned retail facilities nationwide. Over 5,800 of these facilities are in the Eastern Area. The Post Office lobby is the principal business office of the Postal Service. The lobby’s appearance directly affects the Postal Service’s image because it is the only close-up view of postal operations for many customers. The Postal Service must maintain a safe environment for employees and customers and follow safety laws set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Our objective was to determine if Postal Service management adhered to building maintenance, safety and security standards, and employee working condition requirements at retail facilities. We reviewed 51 facilities in the Eastern Area and assessed items related to building safety, security, maintenance, customer complaints, workplace environment, and workplace violence. We also assessed whether each facility was handicap accessible.

This is the fifth in a series of audits assessing retail facility conditions nationwide.

What the OIG Found

The Postal Service must improve adherence to building maintenance, safety and security standards, and employee working condition requirements at its retail facilities. We reviewed 51 facilities and found:

     ■ Thirty-two facilities (63 percent) had building safety and security issues;

     ■ Thirty-two facilities (63 percent) had potential OSHA violations;

     ■ Twenty-five facilities (49 percent) had cleanliness and maintenance issues;

     ■ Thirty-five (69 percent) did not maintain a customer complaint log or monitor how promptly complaints are resolved;

     ■ Forty-four facilities (86 percent) did not display workplace environment posters such as those that inform employees what to do when injured at work;

     ■ Twenty-four facilities (47 percent) did not display workplace violence posters, such as Zero Tolerance Policy and Reporting Procedures; and,

     ■ Five facilities (10 percent) did not provide handicap accessibility or handicap areas needed maintenance or repairs.

Issues related to building safety, security, and maintenance occurred because of competing priorities and local management’s failure to focus on cleaning and general maintenance and repairs, and housekeeping inspections. In addition, management did not provide sufficient oversight of, communicate with, or train employees effectively regarding requirements for reporting deficiencies, completing inspections and facility maintenance, the need to maintain a customer complaint log, or the need to display required posters.

Attention to these areas could improve employee morale and reduce employee turnover. It could also reduce the risk of injuries to customers and employees and related costs, such as workers’ compensation claims, loss of work and productivity, lawsuits, and OSHA fines and penalties. Poorly maintained and unappealing lobbies can also reduce brand loyalty, which impacts revenue.

Local management took corrective action by immediately addressing certain deficiencies brought to their attention during our site visits, such as displaying many missing posters and unblocking exits.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management develop and implement an action plan to address all building safety, security, maintenance, workplace environment, workplace violence policy, and handicap accessibility issues identified during our audit; direct retail facilities personnel to timely input all applicable safety, security, and maintenance issues into the electronic Facilities Management System; establish an oversight mechanism to ensure compliance with recording, tracking and the timely resolution of customer complaints; and reiterate the requirements to perform housekeeping inspections.

We also recommended management establish an oversight mechanism to ensure adherence to policies and procedures relating to maintenance standards, fire extinguisher maintenance, facility and vehicle safety, and poster display; reinforce safety inspection policies and procedures, provide training, and establish an oversight mechanism to ensure safety inspections are completed accurately and deficiencies are addressed.

Read full report

Comments (6)

The most direct way to report fraud, waste, misconduct within the Postal Service is via our Hotline form

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
  • anon

    I work at the PMA in Kent, WA. Here's how my area works: The trucks back in at the dock doors and are scanned and unloaded by the dock employees. The unloaded containers go directly to an area called Prime. Here, the containers are then lined up on the floor in front of the mail/packages dumpers. Prime employees then load them onto the large dumper and then dump the mail onto a belt. My issue with this system is the falling of the boxes onto the belt. Sometimes I hear breakage (crackling, tinkling, or sounds of broken glass) of items in the boxes after they hit the belt and sometimes as they are falling. Sometimes, before we handle the mail, it is already leaking or the package has a wet/oily stain on it. Possibly, the distance from the dumper (up in the air) to the belt is too far apart . Maybe there should be something like a net to catch the falling mail so that it won't hit the belt so hard or maybe the belts should be raised.??? Grant it, some of our customers do not follow the rules of the postal service and they do not correctly secure their valuables and possibly, even lie about what is in the packages, but our equipment shouldn't be so harsh on the packages either. The customers have no idea as to how their mail is being process. It is well known in all postal plants that the mail is on a schedule and has to be processed in a timely manner especially priority and express mail but our customers are depending on the USPS to take care of their mail and packages while getting it to it's destinations on time and in the condition that it was sent in. Maybe the USPS should emphasize to the customers the importance of securing their packages. Maybe the postal service should have better equipment for processing the mail. The equipment at the PMA is rather old, worn, and faulty and should be considered when replacing outdated equipment in the USPS facilities. A happy customer is like a long time friend. Thank you

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    I am very unsatifed about the status of a Piece of lost prioroty package that was sent to me. For Mother Day, from my grandchildren. The Old Greenwich Post Office in Conn. I had found out that my mail was in house there through the tracking number, and was put in a tray and gone missing. The Post master at that post office remark is there is nothing I can do. I believe she should of file a missing report and included me in. She did not document anything to follow this through, I did. It took me five Day to get through to put in a case. And as of today I still do not have a copy of the report and only a case number. I would like this in writing or copy of the report. Where is the customer service , also called consumers affairs five time and still never called back. This is why I am following this through.

    May 23, 2017
  • anon

    "Rudeness and unprofessionalism at my post office" I leave in a such a nice area of Sunny Isles.. everything is outstanding around but our post office! The staff that works there seems like they hate their job and all the costumets! Each time I go there they always argue with costumers... extremely unfriendly and rude!!! Today, for example, clerk Denise sent a costumer to look up the address of post office outside, " it's written on a building "....?!?! while a coustumer asked her politely twice " what's the local address "... They talk to you like you are a prisoner! I can't believe that it's impossible to find two nice , professional and polite clerks for my community! SOS! Help needed to Sunny Isles post office ASSP! Thanks!!!!

    May 23, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Kat, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, 800- 275-8777, or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    May 23, 2017
  • anon

    Collierville, Tn location 38017, 38027- I visit this PO daily to collect mail for the office where I work. I am also a resident. The grounds and the bldg are in dire need of attn. This is an upscale neighborhood and the condition of this facility is an embarrassment to me as a tax payer. ALSO, the employees assigned to this location seem to be the worst the postal service has to offer. The mail is Never out in a timely manner, most days it sounds like a party going on in the back, and no work. Very unprofessional, unfriendly staff that does not reflect our community. We have had mail lost or opened. Someone in our community even had a packaged opened, new shoes replaced with old used ones. There are so many reports on social media of this PO stealing citizens mail or packages. Taking food set out for a food drive. I have visited the PO in other towns and have found very different circumstances. Clean well kept facilities, and friendly professional staff. I believe our town deserves this too. Please respond to my request to correct these problems. We need an overhaul asap.

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    Sandy, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, 800- 275-8777, or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    May 23, 2017